Uncertainty abounds in Cardinals' secondary

Posted Aug. 11, 2011 @ 4:51 p.m.
Posted By Dan Arkush

Veteran Cardinals SS Adrian Wilson seems pretty confident that he will be able to play through the torn biceps he suffered in an early training-camp scrimmage.

But daily team observers have their reservations.

"It's kind of hard to say if he can come back," one team insider said regarding the injury, which occurred when Wilson was attempting to tackle RB Beanie Wells. "If anybody can do it, he can. They're not really saying how severe the injury is, or just when he will get back on the field. You have to wonder if he'll have enough strength.

"If the bone isn't completely torn away, he'll play."

In the meantime, the Cardinals' situation at strong safety is tenuous to say the least, with third-year pro Rashad Johnson appearing to have a very shaky grip on the starting job in Wilson's extremely conspicuous absence.

A third-round pick out of Alabama in the 2009 draft who Tide head coach Nick Saban claimed was one of the smartest players he had ever coached, Johnson has been an inconsistent work in progress in his first two pro seasons.

"Rashad was a lot better last year than he was as a rookie, but overall he would have to be considered a disappointment," the insider said of Johnson, who made a concerted effort this offseason to get in better shape and reduce his body fat in regular workouts with Wilson. "I think both Matt Ware and Hamza Abdullah are going to push him real hard."

The consensus is that the outlook at both CB spots is also extremely fluid for the time being.

On the left corner, first-round draft pick Patrick Peterson is listed second on the depth chart behind second-year pro A.J. Jefferson, who we hear has been making a strong impression.

On the right corner, third-year pro Greg Toler, who was uneven as a starter last season, must deal with the more experienced  Richard Marshall, who started every game for the Panthers the past two seasons, breathing down his neck the entire preseason.

"It's only a matter of time before Peterson is starting," the insider said. "He's obviously very athletic and very quick, and he seems to be very mature. He has been rooming with Adrian and (starting FS) Kerry Rhodes and is soaking up everything he can from them."